Real estate, low dollar keep B.C. in the black

Property transfer tax up $150 million from spring budget, tourism and movie business surge due to 75-cent Canadian dollar

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

The B.C. government expects to finish the fiscal year next March with a $265 million surplus, thanks to surging property transfer tax revenues and a lower Canadian dollar that helps everything from tourism to the movie and TV industry.

Government revenues have declined due to lower natural gas, metals and other natural resources, Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Tuesday in his second quarter financial update. But with a continued hot real estate market in southwestern B.C. and housing starts running above average, property purchase tax revenue is $150 million ahead of the February budget forecast.

Retail sales are running 7.2 per cent ahead of last year for the period of April to August, with vehicle and parts sales up 9.5 per cent and food and beverage up 7.5 per cent.

De Jong said the Canadian dollar, currently trading at 75 cents U.S., has cut down on cross-border shopping trips from B.C. and contributed to a rebound of tourism, which along with stronger employment has helped increase retail sales.

The dollar exchange rate has also led to an increase in movie and TV production, which costs the province because of the big tax incentives offered to lure foreign productions here.

Foreign movie companies get a 25 per cent tax rebate for all spending on labour in the province, and the latest estimate is those credits will climb to a record $514 million for the current year. De Jong said B.C. remains competitive in the movie business despite Ontario increasing its tax credits in 2009 to cover 25 per cent of all spending by foreign movie and TV production companies.

Forest fire expenses were higher than average this year, but not as high as expected earlier in the season.

Exports from B.C. are down overall, with economic growth projections downgraded for the U.S., Canada, China and Japan, which de Jong said is now back in a recession.

 

Just Posted

5,000 ducks race at Surrey beach

‘Ducktona’ event raises funds for Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 5

New survey aims to create a ‘vibrant downtown that all of Surrey can be proud of’

Downtown Surrey BIA’s 20/20 Vision project asks residents for input

Developer looks to build 25-storey office tower by Surrey mall

Proposed for site of former Best Buy store

Seventh lane now open on Alex Fraser Bridge

Four lanes heading southbound, three heading northbound for now

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Vancouver’s Tristan Connelly shocks the UFC world

Late replacement upsets big favourite Pereira, main event sees Gaethje stop Cerrone in round one

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. company gets licence to test psychedelic drugs for therapy treatment

Salvation Botanicals interested in manufacturing, testing and research and development

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

‘A real shame’: B.C. MLA says factors behind Tolko mill closing should have been caught

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson said the industry is in bad shape across the province

Most Read